The Christian home must be characterized by a certain orderliness and discipline. God Himself in His Word has set forth the order that should characterize the godly home. There is first of all the order of the relationship of husband and wife in that home. Many are the forces of the devil and of the ungodly world that seek to destroy this order. All through the ages men have lived in wicked tyranny over their wives. Especially recently the godless woman’s liberation movement has sought to overthrow the order of God for the home. Nevertheless in the Christian home it must be different. There the husband is still the head of the wife and over the family. In the Christian home the husband does not use this position to abuse and mistreat his wife and to gain his own wicked and selfish ends or to boast in his own strength and glory. The husband in the Christian home rules over his wife in love and for her good. He rules her to lead and guide her in the way of God’s righteousness and truth. The husband is the head of the wife to nourish her and keep her, to protect her and provide for her in love. The wife in this home is not rebellious and self-seeking. She submits to her husband for the Lord’s sake. She is selfless and gives her self to serve her husband and family in love. This is a beautiful and blessed order. It serves for the good of the whole family and the glory of the name of God. In this God-ordained order both the husband and wife are able to realize all of their potential, using all the gifts which the Lord has given. Both the husband and wife find satisfaction and fulfillment in this order. There is no need for either to seek to “liberate” themselves from this order. There is no better order. The world’s order in which the vain notion of a democracy between husband and wife is sought is more blessed neither for the husband nor for the wife.
The order of the godly home is also that the home is the place for the woman. In that home she brings forth children according to the command of God. The order of God for the godly woman is to be a keeper of the home. She is to keep the home for her husband and her children. She is to devote her life to this. She is to use all .the gifts that God has given to her unto this end. This too is a beautiful and blessed aspect of the godly home. In this order the wife and mother finds her glory in the sight of God. The mother does not find glory in forsaking her home for a career in the world. Doing this she disrupts the God-ordained order of the home, she leaves her children to fend for themselves, to go unrestrained and undisciplined and uncared for. This will have terrible consequences for the godly Christian home. The godly home is the home where mother is faithful to her calling and loves her husband and her children and serves them. She does not care for what the world may call glorious and what the world may despise. She knows that all that matters is her standing with God. How different the home of the godly is in this respect. How many homes are losing their true Christian character because wives and mothers think it more rewarding and more glorious to be out in the world. How foolish and sinful these women are and what disorder and confusion they will bring to their homes.
The order of the Christian home involves the proper discipline of children. Children in that home are taught to honor their parents for the Lord’s sake. Children there are taught that disobedience is a great sin in the sight of God. The permissiveness of the world in the rearing of children does not characterize the true godly home. There is discipline in that home, discipline that is firm and has as its goal the correction of the children and the leading of them in the way of righteousness and obedience. This is love. Whom the father loveth he chasteneth and correcteth. Greater love is this than all the world’s foolish and evil philosophy of leaving a child to develop on its own. In the Christian home it is known that children are conceived and born in sin. If left to go their own way they will most certainly go into the way of great sin and wickedness. It is clearly understood that real genuine concern for children in the godly home means admonition and discipline. In the home of the godly, children are taught that indeed discipline is love and. concern. They grow up really to appreciate this. They grow up to live an ordered and disciplined life according to the Word of God.
The godly Christian home is characterized by spiritual-mindedness. By this we mean two things. By spiritual-mindedness we mean holiness and separation from the world and all of its evil lusts. By spiritual-mindedness we mean what is the opposite from worldliness and carnality. Because of this spiritual-mindedness the evil corruption and the abomination of the world is kept out of the godly home. The book shelves of this home are not filled with the filthy, dirty, immoral books of the world but with wholesome and genuinely Christian books. The ungodly beat of rock music and strains of the world’s music are not heard in this home. Rather one hears the singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs of praise and thanks unto the Lord. If there is a television at all in the Christian home it is very seldom on because it is known that much of the programming that is shown on it is an abomination in the sight of God, filled with the wickedness of violence, adultery, and murder. Such things cannot serve for the edification and entertainment of the true Christian. Furthermore, as the world adds its new inventions to the television it only increases in becoming an instrument for the propagation of the great evil and abomination of the world. I am thinking for example of the advent of the videotape machine. It now has become possible for the world to watch a wider range of wicked and evil movies in the privacy of their own home where it is thought that none will see and know. But God sees and knows and judges. The Christian home must be far from all of these things. This becomes increasingly more urgent as we approach nearer to the end of the world.
The godly home is not a place where one finds riotous living, drunkenness, gambling, and wild parties. In times gone by, these things were considered by most Reformed Christians to be great evils. Today many Reformed Christians open their homes to this awful worldliness and seek somehow to excuse themselves from the holiness and separation which the Lord requires of His people.
The godly home is spiritually-minded also in the sense that materialism does not reign there. It is possible that one can find much difference from one home to the next as far as the amount of earthly possessions each has. Neither is this wrong. It is certainly in the providence of God that some of us are more wealthy than others. The home of the godly however is not a place where material things, the riches of this world, are worshipped and sought as an end in themselves. The family in the Christian home is not ruled by greed and lust and covetousness. Material things in that home, whether there are few or many are always seen as being of only secondary importance. If the Lord in His providence gives much material wealth to the Christian home then the Lord is humbly thanked and there is an earnest desire and purpose to use all material wealth only in the service of the Lord and for His glory. If on the other hand the Lord gives only few material possessions to the godly home, then there is contentment and satisfaction with whatever the Lord has given. Perhaps one of the best tests of whether materialism is present in a home is how much that home is willing to give and sacrifice for the church and kingdom of God.
In the center of the godly home stands the altar of the Lord. We are very much struck in Singapore by the heathen homes here, how the altars to the heathen idols occupy the center and the absolutely most prominent place in those homes. The most obvious thing of the pagan home is that it is a home of pagan worship. How much more ought it to be true that the most obvious thing of the Christian home should be that it is the place where the only true God of heaven and earth and His Son Jesus Christ is worshipped. The altar in the Christian home is spiritual, for the God Who is worshipped there is Spirit and Truth. The altar in the Christian home is the place where the family gathers for the worship of God and the praise of His wonderful and blessed name. The altar of the Christian home is where many prayers are offered as sacrifices of praise unto the Lord. The Christian home is a place where one hears many songs exalting the name of the Lord and giving thanks unto Him. Morning by morning, prayers of thanks are heard in that home for the newness of God’s mercy, for life and breath and health which are all known to be the gracious gifts of God. At that same altar of the Lord many supplications are made for the grace and blessing of the Lord, for it is understood in the godly home that we are absolutely dependent upon that grace of the Lord for all of life. Routinely the whole family gathers together at that altar. The father of the Christian family is there heard to lead the whole family in prayer. The prayers that are heard there are not mere ritual repetitions of stock phrases. The prayers that are heard there are sincere and genuine and proceed from the heart. The family is prayed for specifically by name. All the affairs of the home are prayed for day by day. No significant decision is made in the godly home until it is first committed to the Lord in prayer. It is through the constant prayers at this altar that the Christian family is seen to get all of its spiritual strength and blessing from the Lord.
Sins are dealt with in the Christian home. They are not just ignored or left to stand. It is clearly understood in the Christian home that all sin is awful. It is awful first of all because it is committed against the holy and righteous God of heaven and earth. It has most dreadful consequences because it brings upon the home the displeasure of the Lord and separates the Christian family from the blessings and fellowship of the Lord. Therefore sin is confessed in deep and sincere repentance before God. Sin in the Christian home is daily brought in prayer to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every one of the sins of the Christian home are brought there. They are brought there specifically and repeatedly until forgiveness and cleansing have been found. There are times in the Christian home when one hears weeping because of the awfulness of sin. There are also times when one hears rejoicing because of the blessedness of forgiveness and righteousness in Christ.
Sin is also dealt with in the Christian home when it involves the members of the home with each other. In the home of the ungodly, sin is allowed to stand. It is allowed to increase more and more. Such refusal to deal with sin brings bitterness, division, and hatred in the home. That increases more and more until it ends in divorces and broken homes and all kinds of terrible misery and judgment. When members of the Christian home sin against each other they confess their sins one to another, they forgive one another. Reconciliation is brought about and peace again reigns. Children in the Christian home are taught also to confess their sins to each other and before God. By nature, children are prone often to quarrel with one another. Parents in the godly home repeatedly admonish their children concerning the sin of this and exhort them to confess their sins to each other and before God.
The godly home is a place where the Word of God is obeyed. The Word of God is read in that home regularly. All the affairs of that home are ordered according to that Word of God. This too makes the home of the godly so entirely different from the homes of the world where there is rebellion against God and a continual ignoring of the demands of the Word of God. The Word of God is very really the standard and rule of the godly home. Daily wisdom and guidance are sought from the Word of God. How beautifully this is described in Deuteronomy 6:7-9: “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon’the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Out of the Word of God the family reads of the wonders of the Lord, of His glorious and blessed attributes, of the great and mighty deeds that He did in the days of old, of His unchangeable faithfulness to His covenant and especially of His wonderful works of salvation in Jesus Christ. All of this causes the Christian home to put its trust and hope in God.
The godly home is characterized by trust in the Lord. This trust is especially evident when troubles and trials come to the Christian home. It is evident when there is sickness and death in the Christian home. None of this brings despair to the Christian home. The Christian home is where the Lord the Almighty God is. He is the eternal refuge of that home and under that home are the everlasting arms of the’ Lord. This is known in the Christian home and therefore there is peace and security there.
The godly home is characterized by contentment with the Lord. One does not hear there complaining and murmuring against the Lord. One does not find there dissatisfaction with the troubles and trials of life. Even the most severe of hardships and the greatest of earthly wants are endured in the Christian home. For it is known there that God works all things for good for them that love God. It is known there also that this life on earth is temporary and there is a hope and expectation of the glory and blessedness of the life to come. Therefore the Christian family can endure the present sorrows, knowing that they are but for a moment and that they all work towards bringing us to glory.
Finally, the Christian home is characterized by joy. There is first of all a joy in the Lord. God is known in all of His goodness and blessedness in that home. His wonderful salvation has been experienced in that home and its final and perfect realization in heaven is looked for. This is the source of the great joy of the Christian home. Therefore one often hears singing of joyous songs of praise and thanks unto the Lord in that home. The godly home is the place of joy also because there is great joy when God’s people by His grace faithfully perform their calling. There is great joy when children who have been faithfully instructed by their parents grow up to fear and love the Lord. Much could be said about this too but our space is running out. There is no better way to conclude the discussion about this aspect of the Christian home than by quoting the beautiful versification of Psalm 128 that we have in our Psalter. “Blest the man that fears Jehovah, walking ever in His ways; By thy toil thou shalt be prospered and be happy all thy days. In thy wife thou shalt have gladness, she shall fill thy home with good, happy in her loving service and the joys of motherhood. Joyful children, sons and daughters, shall about thy table meet, olive plants, in strength and beauty, full of hope and promise sweet.”